Former Newton High School to be used in feature film

Newton Board of Education to begin contract negotiations with Triple Horse Studios for longer-term lease

COVINGTON — The film industry is going to school.

The Newton County Board of Education approved on Tuesday a contract with a production company that will use the former Newton High School for the next month to film scenes for a feature film starring Samuel L. Jackson and Jessica Alba.

Barely Lethal LLC will use parts of the old school on Ram Drive from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Nov. 20. The contract amount is $30,000, according to Craig Lockhart, deputy superintendent of schools for the Newton County School System.

The application for use of the facilities states that filming will take place in the auditorium, the principal’s office, the gymnasium, hallways with lockers, classrooms, the cafeteria and kitchen and the parking lot.

The nature and purpose of the activity will be “to prepare, wrap and film scenes for a feature film, and to stage equipment and personnel while filming,” the application states.

According to the website, IMDB.com, the film name has not yet been released, but it is to be a comedy about a 16-year-old international assassin yearning for a “normal” adolescence. She fakes her own death and enrolls as a senior in a suburban high school, where she quickly learns that being popular can be more painful than getting waterboarded. More information about the film can be found at www.imdb.com/title/tt1731701/. The movie is to be released sometime in 2014.

Lockhart told BOE members that site visits will be arranged for students enrolled in broadcast/video production classes at the Newton College and Career Academy.

The BOE also gave Lockhart permission to enter into contract negotiations with Covington-based Triple Horse Studios LLC for a longer-term lease to use the gymnasium at the former Newton High School for motion picture and television filming.

In his proposal to Lockhart and School Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey, Karl Horstmann, founder of Triple Horse Studios, said that since announcing his company’s plans to build a larger studio complex, Triple Horse has received numerous requests for stage and equipment rental, though they haven’t yet broken ground.

Horstmann stated he recently received a call from a Los Angeles production company wanting to lease about 8,500 square feet of stage space with all the production services that would be needed to accommodate that size production for a minimum of 10 months.

The gymnasium at the old high school would fit that requirement, Horstmann wrote, and he is requesting to lease the space for 12 months in order to “aggressively pursue projects that would be convertible to a longer-term lease once a client is secured.”

While specific terms of any lease would need to be worked out, Horstmann offered to pay the Newton County Board of Education net rent revenue to accommodate a lower monthly payment for those periods when the facility is not being used for filming.

“We further propose that Triple Horse Studios Atlanta partner with the Newton County Board of Education to continue using the facility beyond actual production bookings as a smaller-sized stage that could work in association with the county’s continuing education center to use for hands-on training, teaching and tutoring,” he stated. “With the influx of the film industry into Georgia, the studio in the county or city that can provide the most experienced workers will be in high demand.”

The BOE voted 4-1 to allow Lockhart to enter into contract negotiations with Triple Horse Studios, with board member Eddie Johnson abstaining.